Sep 10, 2013

Adding Value to Your Home – Finishing the Basement

When you are adding value to your home, finishing your basement is a big step that will take some time and effort, but the end product will be well worth.

This should be a well-thought out project so that it is done properly, and so that you maximize the return on the investment of adding a finished basement to your home.

Here are some tips that will make your finished basement that much better, thus adding value to your home:

  • Before you start devising a plan for your basement, make sure to check for any moisture or condensation around the walls and base of the basement. You need to repair and fix all cracks with some sort of concrete compound or cement before moving forward. This will also determine whether or not you should lay carpet or use some other form of flooring in the event you will have moisture in the future.
  • If your walls are not framed out, you will need to do this before starting any portion of finishing the basement as well. You will need to have studs to hang the drywall (if that is the route you are going) as well as a frame for the type of ceiling you will install.
  • If you aren’t doing the dirty work yourself, then the carpeting and drywall and ceiling are all things that you will only have to pick out, rather than install. It may be worth your money to have a contractor do the work so that it looks professionally done.
  • Lighting is key for the basement so when you (or the contractor) is figuring out the layout, make sure to error on the side of adding more light than not. Energy star windows are a nice touch. A darker basement is a turnoff, so avoid this at all costs. Even if you have to bring in lamps – make sure the basement is properly lit.

After all of the hard labor is done, this is when the fun starts of spicing up the basement. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are prepared to finish the project:

  • If you don’t end up laying carpet and you go with the hardwood floor, I would still advise to place an area rug in the middle of the room. Not only does it add a little bit more warmth to the basement, but it also adds a nice welcoming touch to it.
  • A good way to maximize the space in the basement is to hang your TV on a wall mount rather than taking up space with an entertainment center. Wall mounts are available at any entertainment or hardware store, and it will be a great touch for you and your family.
  • If you are planning on adding a bar – even if it is a portable bar – you will need at least some sort of fridge. It doesn’t have to be a larger fridge, but you should have at least a ‘dorm fridge’ under the bar for refreshments. This will alleviate the time of going up and down the stairs to the kitchen time and time again.
  • When you are considering putting a bar in the basement in comparison to a possible pool table or poker table, the bar outweighs the other two in terms of usage. So if you are crammed for space, my suggestion would be to go with the bar rather than taking up so much space for the other entertainment activities.
  • Make sure you make good use of the walls, not only with new paint but also with pictures or sports memorabilia. This is the space where you can afford to hang things that might not actually be a good fit for a living room. If this is in fact a ‘man cave’, then feel free to hang your framed jersey, signed photos or whatever else you deem appropriate. If you don’t have anything, make sure you sprinkle the walls with some sort of art.
  • If you are taking the time to finish your basement, don’t use it as a storage place. Make sure you have storage in a separate room or the garage, and don’t just use this area for clutter or your kids’ toys. If that were the case, skip all of the tips here and save your money!

About the Author:  Doug Chapman is a staff writer for Home Daddys, a stay-at-home dad blog.  He specializes in diapers and Sippy cups by day, but is a successful real estate investor by night. 
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